Priesthood/Relief Society Lesson 15: “The Sacred Callings of Fathers and Mothers”
Approximate Scheduled Teaching Date: Sunday, August 9, 2015
While there may not be any specific statements in this lesson that may cause concern in LGBT matters, the entire outline of the lesson is based on the duties and responsibilities of fathers and mothers. As this is the doctrine of the church at this time, this is to be expected and should not cause undue grief to LGBT members, families, and allies. It may be much easier to approach this lesson in such a context than to feel entirely overwhelmed.
However, the biographical section of President Benson, as well as his teachings, paint an idealistic image which may be difficult for any member to attain, even President Benson. For many years, the Church has seen a spike in counseling visits by members to LDS Family Services following April and October conference, because members have been overwhelmed in attaining everything expected of them. The chapter does not give a day-by-day picture of problems which befall all families in the church. For example, President Benson’s own grandson was excommunicated from the church. This is just one example of the many lessons we came to earth to learn by sad experience (D&C 121:41). Such lessons apply to individuals, families, and the Church.
We as LGBT individuals and those of us in same-sex marriages can seek to apply the lesson’s advice on how to be better fathers and mothers in our own families. Share your experiences as a father or a mother even though you may not be married to the opposite sex. Help people see that there really isn’t that much that is tremendously different.
You may also want to by an ally to other diverse family roles you see in your ward. For example, you may know of mothers who prefer and are able to earn more than than father and that we should not assume that there is anything wrong with this arrangement. Help class members realize that more important than pre-determined roles, the bottom line is that the married couple be strongly committed to one another and to their shared values, that they put their children as top priority, that they seek to cultivate the spirit in their home, and that they daily demonstrate their love for each other and their children through consistent actions.